Many product managers are familiar with rules and strategies for product naming, but what about version numbers and project code names? Do we need them? Who owns them? Read the full article.
Have you been embracing external visits?
In the Market
Many high-tech companies have made knowing the market a key element of each product managers job objectives. One company's product managers spend two weeks per month traveling to customers and prospects (without sales people). Another company requires ten documented onsite calls each quarter plus a full week onsite once a year working side-by-side with an existing customer. Their onsite sabbatical refreshes domain expertise and reveals an astounding number of small but significant enhancements that make the customers want to renew the product year after year. Read more about Interviewing Prospects (Getting outside your comfort zone) (from Jul 02 newsletter).
One company has a team of full-time marketing employees making onsite win/loss calls. They want to learn "What did we do right?" and "What did we do wrong?" They've learned two things: 1) you cannot effectively do win/loss over the telephone, and 2) fewer than 50% of their losses have anything to do with the product. Talk about valuable information! Read more about Win/Loss Analysis (Why Are We Winning and Why Are We Losing?) (from Aug 02 newsletter).
Many product managers have taken our advice and started giving short presentations at onsite user training sessions. The result: a bunch of new business cards, people they can call to clarify an issue, and more importantly, contacts that are actual product users instead of buyers or technical support. Read more about Keeping Close to Customers (from Oct 02 newsletter).
Write down five non-product-specific questions you'd like to ask customers.
Identify three customers to visit this month.
Then do it.
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